Last Minute Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss and deadlines: I send the project to him and he’ll sit on it until Friday – even after me sending him emails on Weds and Thursday

Every project I work on has clear deadlines. I always meet those deadlines with no problem, until recently. I got a new boss who has to see everything I do (even though there has never been an issue with my work before). I always send him things right after I do them. Say I get a project on Monday that is due next Monday, I work on it Monday/Tuesday send it to him for approvals and wait for him to approve so I can either create the final work or to do changes (which there really are never any, but usually if they are they are VERY picky like “move this over 2 pixels to the right…”Anyway – I send the project to him and he’ll sit on it until Friday – even after me sending him emails on Weds and Thursday, and even bring it up in other meetings with him. Every email mentions the time when I need to have the final files done by, (like Friday afternoon for a Monday morning deadline).

Friday afternoon I’m still waiting for feedback – I send another email. He then claims he doesn’t know what the project is about (even though he was in the initial meeting and the brief/info is attached to the project that anyone can read and understand what it is). And then says he’ll look at it Monday morning (day it’s due) and leaves the office. And this forces me EVERY TIME to scramble and get things done after he sends feedback and sometimes the project has to be late because he still won’t give me feedback!! This is happening on every project and even the project manager is getting ticked off because she nudges him just as much as I do about projects. What the heck do I do? It’s really getting to me – along with the fact that he then ends up getting credit for everything I do! And I really want to quit my job because of all this.

Signed, Want To Quit Because Of This

Dear Want To Quit Because Of This:

It’s a pattern. You know this. It has happened in spite of every effort you have made to prevent it happening again. And it will happen again unless you quit or can come to a new agreement with your new boss. Emails won’t do it. Bringing it up in meetings won’t do it. Your project manager getting ticked off and nudging him won’t prevent it happening again. Can you find a more effective channel to communicate your frustration and resolve this happening again? Maybe not. But quitting probably is self-destructive since you apparently are good at what you do and have achieved skills that are valued in this job. That doesn’t leave many reasonable options.

Here are several: · Toughen up and live with it. Decide being frustrated and making last minute picky changes are simply par, if not bogey, for the course.

· Have a candid private confrontation with your new manager. Repeat what you have detailed in this query to the Workplace Doctors. In bold type, firm statements, and good humor express your frustration. Ask for him to allow the Project Manager to make approvals or to allow your final say to be accepted without changes if he hasn’t approved it be Friday or to see his job differently; not at requiring approval, but rather as coaching and interacting with internal/external customers, etc. An editor of a newspaper doesn’t have to micromanage and approve every article before it goes to press.

· Engage your work group in a staff-wide skull session to hammer out do and don’t rules for project assignments–procedures, approval dates, making complaints, and most of all improving quality. By that I mean generating ways of cutting waste; wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted money, wasted energy; and ways of satisfying and delighting internal and external customers.

· If neither of toughening up, candid confrontation or a staff-wide skull session works, meet with your boss’s boss. Explain the problem and ask for help.Hopefully, if you choose none of these options, they will spark one that you will try. The hard fact is that organization is an on-going process of getting organized in ways that improve on what was.

You are wise enough to know that mumbling to your self, coworkers, family and friends can eventually get back to your new boss or generate in you an obsessive adversarial boss-bossed relationship. And that ain’t good for your own psychological health or that of your work group. So see your self as a change agent who can cheerfully and assertively find an individual and/or collaborative solution. Think big; Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and I’m sure that is what you want.

William Gorden